Their Eyes Were Watching God Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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How does Janie's journey from West Florida to Eatonville to the Everglades represent her and the novel's increasing immersion in black culture?

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Zora Neale Hurston was a cultural anthropologist and had political views that went against the the views of many of her contemporaries in the Harlem Renaissance. Simply put, Hurston advocated for segregation and for a society where black traditions and black culture could flourish independently, without white influence. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s journey from West Florida to Eatonville to the Everglades catalogues a rediscovery of black identity in a society that is skewed toward a white way of life.

Janie, a child and grandchild of black women who were raped by white men, grew up in the backyard of a white family in West Florida. Janie’s grandmother moved to West Florida for protection, because she “didn’t want nobody mistreatin my baby. So Ah got with some good white people and come down here.” White people, however, could not protect Janie’s mother from the teacher who raped her, and so, when Janie came of age, her grandmother forced her to marry a farmer,...

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